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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ind. Gov't. - Clark County sheriff files "mandate" suit against county for funding

Ben Zion Hershberg has the story in the Louisville Courier Journal. Some quotes from the long story:

Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has filed a lawsuit asking the courts to require Clark County government to provide him with at least $1.6 million so he can keep his department and the jail operating through the end of the year.

“This is not something I wanted to do,” Rodden said in an interview Monday afternoon. “There is just nothing else there.”

County Council President Kevin Vissing said he has heard about the sheriff’s lawsuit against the council and county commissioners, and he understands why Rodden took such a step.

“He’s got a job to do,” Vissing said. But the council, which controls most purse strings of county government, doesn’t have a source of funds with which to help the sheriff, Vissing said.

The lawsuit, Vissing said, “is a way to get more revenue.”

Clark County Circuit Court has scheduled an emergency hearing on Rodden’s lawsuit for 3 p.m. Wednesday.

If the courts order funding for Rodden, the council would be required to impose a special, one-year increase in property taxes to make the payment, since other sources of funding aren’t available.

Clark County government has been struggling with a fiscal crisis since last year, and last week the council asked all county departments to file budget plans explaining how they will comply with cuts the council made in March averaging about 10 percent for most departments. * * *

If his lawsuit results in a special property tax ordered by the courts, it could be imposed even if it exceeds state limits on property-tax increases. The county could then negotiate a short-term loan to fund the sheriff’s department that would be paid off when the taxes are collected.

The Clark County Council recently agreed to provide $1.3 million to the county courts after the judges filed a lawsuit similar to Rodden’s.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 16, 2011 09:58 AM
Posted to Indiana Government